How I keep my head from exploding

July 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One of my working mom friends was asking me the other day how I manage to do this, how I manage to stay at home with Liam and do freelance work. Granted, I’m only doing about 25 hours of work per month. But still, most SAHM’s (that’s short for Stay-at-home Mom, I discovered online) just focus on raising their child, going to play dates, and such. Moms continually say how hard this is, staying home with a child all day long. And the thought of adding freelance work on top of that sounds impossible from that perspective. But I’m finding that the tedium of just sitting around with your kid is the part that’s difficult, for me, anyway. Keeping my days busy keeps me sane.

Here’s how my days generally shake out. I get Liam up right as James leaves for work at 7:15 so we can have our goodbye kisses and wave out the window. We both have breakfast and watch the news, then I take a shower and Liam plays on the bathroom floor or stands by the curtain letting all the water drip on the floor. Annoying, but what ya gonna do? By 9:30 we’re ready to run errands, or go to baby yoga, or go to a play date, or ride the bike to the park if the weather is nice. On Mondays I clean the house (partly in the morning and partly during nap), and on Wednesdays I change sheets and towels and do the laundry (all when he’s awake). At noon we have lunch out with friends, or at home listening to NPR podcasts. Car Talk every Monday always brightens my day. We read stories and cuddle, then Liam’s in his crib by 1. I do all the dishes from breakfast and lunch, then check email and do whatever work came in until Liam wakes up, usually around 3 or 4. Then Liam has his yogurt and snack, and then we’ll either take the stroller out for a walk – Liam points at traffic and dogs while I listen to my podcasts – or he’ll walk around the block on his own, and we’ll meet James off the Metro. Sometimes I cook dinner and we all eat together. But most times I make Liam something separate and James will cook our dinner later. James and I divide out our evening chores – I feed the boy, he strips him down for a bath, I give him the bath, change him into PJs, make sure he brushes his teeth, read him his stories, and put him down while James cooks dinner. James picks up all the toys, and I do dishes. Sometimes we change things up, James doing the bath routine and me picking up toys. At any rate, Liam is in bed by 7 or 7:30, James and I eat and watch a show, and I’m back at my computer by 8:30 or so. If there’s more work to do, I’ll work until 10:30 or so, then do the dishes (unless I cooked), then maybe watch a show or read. Lights out around midnight.

In between all those moments I have time to update my blog, take photos and videos, upload all those photos and videos, send emails, and make calls to family. And I really do manage to watch a fair amount of TV, certainly more than I expected I would. On the weekends I take yoga or pilates while Liam gets some “daddy time.” So I do get a break. It really does feel like a blessed life. I remember when I was working full time, and Alice would be playing with Cameron and Liam in the living room. I longed to join them instead of working. I would wake up every morning wishing I could just stay home with him instead of either dropping him off or getting up early to let Alice and Cameron in. But I also loved my job, and couldn’t imagine not doing graphic design anymore. And I wasn’t sure how we’d be able to afford our rent on one income. Now it seems I’ve got the best of both worlds.

Right now, the way things stand, my life feels balanced. It’s what I’ve been striving for all year, and I think I’ve finally attained it. Sure, some days are more hectic than others, either because of a work deadline or because Liam’s giving me a hard time. But other days, like today, there’s no work to do, and Liam takes a marathon nap. I doubt this balance will last forever. As they say, nothing gold can stay. But for now, it works.

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